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This isn't a great Alabama team, and therefore Georgia absolutely has a legit shot in this game. We've been fortunate that the 2012 season ended up not featuring a single great/dominant type team (in my opinion), thus opening the door for us again. Consider this comparison of the two programs though.......
GEORGIA: best team Mark Richt has had at UGA and the closest they've ever been to a BCS title berth during his tenure. They've probably got more NFL ready talent than any team in the nation, and are calling this their biggest game in 30 yrs. ALABAMA: lost 5 guys in the top 35 picks of the NFL draft, and by all accounts are in somewhat of a down/transition/rebuilding type season relative to what the standard here is.
.........consider all that, and then go check out who Vegas STILL lists as a touchdown favorite in the game. Speaks volumes about the big picture separation that exists between these 2 programs if you ask me. Anyway, here are the 6 keys to winning this game as I see them. Feel free to debate.
KEY #1: Our secondary didn't magically spring leaks once we reached the LSU/A&M games. Those cracks had been there all season long, it just took the right amount of pressure for them to show up. Georgia's overall team is a perfect example of this as well though. Their 4 biggest weaknesses to me are OLine, discipline/mistakes/penalties, run defense, and QB play in big games. They all showed up in their blowout loss @SC, and 3 of them showed up vs. Florida. They defended the run well, but in fairness nobody is intimidated by Jeff Driskell's arm especially in 30+mph winds. Since then they've taken care of business against vastly inferior competition, but make no mistake.....those cracks are still there, they just haven't been exposed to that pressure again since UF. They'll experience pressure like they haven't seen all season Saturday, and I believe all 4 areas will be taken advantage of by Alabama.
KEY #2: This will be a line of scrimmage game, and the match-ups are actually relatively easy to break down. BamaOL vs. GeorgiaDL/LB = advantage Bama. GeorgiaOL vs. BamaDL/LB = advantage Bama. The key to attacking a 3-4 defense (which both teams feature) is getting your OL to the second level thus preventing the linebackers from flowing freely and making plays. Alabama's OL is perfectly equipped to handle UGA's front 7 as they've been pushed around by lesser OL's multiple times already this season. UGA's OL isn't nearly as equipped to do this to Alabama's front 7 though, which means not only will they struggle to establish the run, but Murray will be pressured a good bit despite the lack of an elite pass rusher on Bama's side. Balance and stellar QB play have been the keys for teams who have had the most success against Bama in recent years, but I believe Georgia's vulnerability along the OL will prevent them from maintaining that balance.
KEY #3: Aaron Murray underperforming in big games. It's easy to say, but why does it happen? Obviously more pressure and tighter coverage are issues against elite defenses, but there's another factor here as well. Due to his short stature, a lot of Murray's interceptions and incompletions happen because of tipped balls at the line of scrimmage. In a game this tight, 1 or 2 mistakes could be the difference in a field goal game versus a 3 touchdown blowout. The front 7 for Alabama will have multiple opportunities to bat passes either down or up to possibly force turnovers. This is also the spot where Georgia losing Bennett/Brown will show up most glaringly because it greatly reduces the risk of mismatches between UGA WR's against Bama's 3rd/4th/5th DB's.
KEY #4: Many in Bama nation feel the offensive identity was somewhat forgotten around the midpoint of this season. Well, rest assured you'll see a return to power football Saturday afternoon. I believe the reduced workload for Bama RB's was partially due to injury/depth concern but those concerns will be tossed out the window in an SEC championship game as the staff has been managing the offense with Atlanta/Miami in mind ever since the losses of Fowler and Hart. Georgia's front 7 is loaded with NFL talent, but I'm telling you right now they can't handle Alabama's power run game for 4 qtr's. If Cyrus/Warmack/Jones/Steen/Fluker and company establish the run early, which they will, you may see a game that very closely resembles Bama/Florida 2009. This in turn will open up the play action game allowing Alabama to create explosive plays through the air.
KEY #5: Both teams will place an emphasis on getting off to a fast start, but I feel it's especially important for UGA. Never forget, they were a few dropped passes away last season from building a huge 1st half lead against LSU. Alabama can't afford to face another Texas A&M situation where they're stuck trying to play catch-up, so it'll be imperative to limit UGA early and take control of the game tempo offensively. South Carolina was able to do what they did early against Georgia because of over pursuit in their secondary. A program that lacks discipline off the field will lack it on the field as well, and UGA is a prime example. Especially in a super charged environment like this, they'll be prone to busted assignments early defensively. It'll be up to AJ and the WR's to execute and take advantage.
KEY #6: Georgia's biggest win to date was against Florida. It was of course a very sloppy and mistake filled game where they needed 6 turnovers to win by 8. I'm taking nothing away from UGA, they forced turnovers and made the big plays when they needed to. The point is though, if Georgia were to play a similar game Saturday to the one they played in their biggest win of the season, Alabama would likely run them out of the building. So now a coach/program with terrible recent history in big games will have to execute at the highest level they have all season in their toughest game of the season against the best opponent they will have faced all season who also happens to be the best big game program in the nation led by the best coach in the nation. I simply don't see it happening.
SUMMARY: Georgia's best game can beat Alabama, Georgia's typical game cannot.. I'll take the more disciplined team with advantages both ways along the line of scrimmage, the better big game QB, and by far the better coach. Alabama wins the SEC Championship and goes on to face Notre Dame in Miami.
Very Good analysis!
good stuff man! RTR!
Awesome write up..thank you!!
Perhaps the most spot-on analysis I've seen yet Jawa. Can't argue with any of that.
+1 Excellent analysis. To add to what you said, I don't thing Georgia will be very successful running the ball so it will be our ability to get off the field on third down that will be crucial. If our secondary plays well we should win. RTR!
+1, very nice. I do not see the hole that BAMA dug against TA&M happening against GA in the first QTR. Murray is not "Johhny Football", plus BAMA will be much more prepared physically and emotionally.
This post has been edited 2 times, most recently by CrimsonStain 17 months ago
“Although our intellect always longs for clarity and certainty, our nature often finds uncertainty fascinating.” Karl von Clausewitz
Great summary....If I could add one thing I think Alabama also has an advantage on Special Teams. Roll Tide
Thanks "Coach" Jawa!
Literally had intended to include that and forgot, guess you added Key #7......gracias sir. Freshman kicker and punter for UGA, and they still haven't really identified who they want to handle kick return duties full time. Mitchell makes some very questionable decisions there from time to time.
Excellent Analogy!! I do think we can add "and go on to Miami to play Notre Dame and WIN or 15th National Champiionship!!
This post was edited by luvmybama 17 months ago
Awesome analysis, Jawa...thanks and ROLL TIDE!
excellent analysis, thanks for posting!
good job, I know that took a lot of time
do you hava score jawa ???
What he said.
Agreed, this Bama team is not great...missing something, so far...have the players and potential...I have an opinion, but so does everyone else...
#4. Sorry, this part seems a little homerish... We have no offensive identity, yet. Maybe we find it Saturday, maybe we don't. I would LOVEEEE to see a return to power football and I believe Bama has the players and physicality to run on any team, and beat UGA in the ground, BUT...I have waited every week for this to happen. Hasn't yet and really don't believe it will. We are wasting this OL. It is what it is. No way Bama didn't run the ball because we were "saving" our RBs for Miami. Three weeks ago, we lost our chance to go to Miami and then had them revived. We should have ran then, to keep this "ah so great" QB off the field. Should have ran the ball to help our defense AT LSU. Almost 7 yards a carry vs the tigers and we throw more? Sheesh...Nobody does things like that. Teams don't run vanilla offenses to not show our hand for rivialry games or Championship games, and lose games doing it. We don't pass the ball to "save" RBs when our greatest strength is suppose to be our OL and talented TBs. Nuss is not Coach Mac. Not praising one over the other, but their play calling is clearly different. The plays are mostly the same. The playcalling is not, for better or worse...and we still may win a National Title with this playcalling. Anybody every watch Texas Tech when Leach was there? We look like a that. sometimes or Hawaii. Both teams won lots of games, just not what we are used to.
Sorry, got a little on a rant. Love our team and coaches. Get them Dawgs!!!
Great analysis by Jawa. Here's the bottom line. I am confident that UGA can't beat us if Bama plays a good game... Its the 'bad game' that worries me. Simple as that in my mind.
Combat Search and Rescue.... "that others may live".
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